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U's Trial Sensory Room

Oxford United in the Community help create new matchday space

1 October 2018

A new sensory room is being trialled on match-days, as part of a joint project between Oxford United in the Community, OxVox and Jigsaw.

The room, located in the South Stand Upper, has been designed to support people with autism and other sensory needs to create a safe and stress-free space.

First conceived by Jigsaw, an Oxford-based parent carer support group, the room has come into being thanks the OUFC Community Trust and funding from supporters' group OxVox.

Crowds and loud noises can be challenges for some; the room provides a calm space and includes light projectors, soft play items, sensory mats and special seating.

Kate Longworth, CEO of Oxford United in the Community, said: “A key part of our strategy is to support youngsters in our community and help them lead more fulfilled lives. This project is close to our hearts as it helps families bring their children to Oxford United matches and provides a nurturing environment for them to flourish. We’re grateful to all of our partner organisations who have made this possible.”

OxVox committee member Ali Wolfe said: "This seemed like a really good cause to support and a way of helping the community and ensuring more people feel comfortable coming to Oxford United matches.”

Hayley Nash, a volunteer for Jigsaw whose own 12-year-old son is a season ticket holder and has autism, will be one of the people on hand to support those using the room.

She said: "Looking around the stadium there are a lot of children with additional needs and this seemed to be something that was missing.

"My son gets quite emotional - he is really very passionate about the game.

"This is somewhere he can recharge and come back calmer and more chilled."

Any supporter who feels they would benefit from the space is welcome to use it before or during the game and should notify a steward or email in advance.

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